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Old 10-27-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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Towing over rating

We are considering spending more time on the road so are looking for a bit larger fifth wheel. Looking at around 32 feet, give or take, with a super slide and a bedroom slide. I am going to have to refresh my knowledge of what GVWR and all the other codes mean when it comes to the max I can tow.

Looking at different manufactures it seems the weights vary greatly for similar layouts and lengths, at least based on what NADA shows. I wonder how accurate NADA is and think what it shows is dry weight. It may be going to a scale may be the only way to get the truth.

As you can see from my profile below we are towing with a 2004 Dodge Cummins w/six speed New Venture. I have added PacBrake air bags to help with the pin weight and their exhaust brake to help with the downhills. As far as I can find out the tow max is 12,550 so am using that as a guide.

What puzzles me is that as we travel and stay at RV parks, it seems many people are towing with 2500 and 3500, fifth wheels that are way beyond their tow ratings. Like Heartland Big Horn triple slides 34 foot. Some people I ask what their tow rating is don't know what I am talking about. Am I missing something? Can a trucks tow rating be increased that much? Am I just ignorant?

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Old 10-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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No, the manufacturer's ratings for the truck are just that - the maximums that, as far as the manufacturers are concerned, are not to be exceeded. You can add airbags, higher weight rated tires, etc., but the manufacturer's ratings are not going to change. Further, bear in mind that the manufacturer's trailer tow rating and payload rating (the latter being important because your truck must CARRY the pin weight of the 5th wheel while not exceeding its GVWR or rear axle GAWR) is determined for a base model truck with only a 150 lb driver. The weight of additional options, accessories, the 5th wheel hitch, cargo, driver (in excess of 150 lbs), passengers, etc. must all be deducted from the trailer tow and payload ratings.

Don't make the mistake of working with 5th wheel dry weights; you don't tow a dry trailer with no cargo, food, propane, clothes, etc. For sizing purposes, work with the 5th wheel's GVWR as the total trailer weight and 20% of the 5th wheel's GVWR as the loaded pin weight.

Since you already have the truck, load it up as if you're hitting the road towing the 5th wheel and go to the scales - CAT scales at a truck stop, for instance. With your weight ticket giving you the actual axle weights, you can get accurate guidelines for your truck as follows:

Front axle actual weight + rear axle actual weight = truck's laden curb weight (LCW)

Truck's GCWR - truck's LCW = maximum allowable total trailer weight (trailer GVWR)

Truck's GVWR - truck's LCW = maximum allowable trailer pin weight (20% of trailer's GVWR)

And, yes, lots of people are towing overloaded with 3/4 ton and 1 ton SRW trucks, either knowingly (they know they're over one or more ratings and don't care) or unknowingly because the RV dealer told them, "Sure, you can pull that 5th wheel with your truck - no problem at all!!"

Rusty
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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Whew, thanks for all the info Rusty. Time for a bit of homework.

Right now we tow with full propane and very little water since we do not dry camp. We are not large people so our added weight to the truck would be around 285 pounds plus another 100 pounds of dogs.

The truck has been weighed with full fuel, myself and the hitch and it was around 7,300.

GT
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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What Rusty said. Yes, there are a lot of people pulling way too much with SRW 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Adding air springs and overload springs will not increase the towing rating 1 pound, it will just prop up the rear end.

A 3/4 ton truck will reach it's GVWR limit due to pin weigh on the 5erlong before the GCWR is reached.

Read the footnotes on the trucks tow ratings carefully. They usually have a note something to the effect that you are not to exceed any of the trucks ratings GVWR, GAWR or GCWR. It does not give the option of meeting one and ignoring the other two.

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Old 10-27-2013, 11:42 AM   #5
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We fulltime and travel all over the Southeastern part of the USA.

We typically move every two weeks or so and some of the rigs we see on the interstates and in CGs amaze me, 1/2 Ton Trucks with 32 to 35 Foot 5ers and 3/4 Ton Trucks with 40 + Foot Triple Axle Toy Haulers.

A 1/2 Ton Truck pulling a 12,000 lb. to 14,000 lb. 5er and a 3/4 Ton Truck pulling a 16,000 lb. to 18,000 lb. Toy Hauler makes no sense to me but to most people I meet that are doing it, they have no worries and say it is ok.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:28 PM   #6
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What puzzles me is I was told by the salesman at the time I purchased our truck that the only difference between the 2500 and 3500 was an extra leaf in the rear springs, lights on the cab and $700. Given that the Dodge ratings show the 2500 at 12,550 and the 3500 at 1,000 more makes me wonder.

For the 2500 and 3500 everything else is the same: engine, transmission, frame, driveline, differential, tires, wheels, brakes, etc. Go figure.
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greytraveler View Post
What puzzles me is I was told by the salesman at the time I purchased our truck.......
Did he, by any chance, have a 2500 that you wanted and NOT have a 3500 that you wanted? There's also the matter of the GVWR and GAWRs shown on the sticker on the driver's door jamb - that's a critically important difference between the 2500 and 3500 SRW.

I've ordered my last 2 trucks since few dealers stock trucks that are built to maximize GVWR, GCWR and GAWRs for 5th wheel towing duty, but I purchase trucks that are rated for the job for which I intend to utilize them.

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Old 10-27-2013, 12:54 PM   #8
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No re. truck in stock - was just shopping at the time and really wanted a Ford since have always had Fords. The problems with the new diesel made me look elsewhere. Glad I did although the Ford cab is still my favorite.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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I agree with all that is said here BUT it cannot be said that all 1/2 tons are not up to the challenge. I drive a 1/2 ton with a 6.2 gas engine with the HD towing package. I pull a 33' TT thru western mountains with no problem at all. I do, however, stay well within the weight limits.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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I've done the calcs and it seems that all things considered my max tow is near what the manufacture states as long as the weight on the pin is also within specs. Interesting in that the Fox we have says dry is 86nn and gross is 13,000. A difference not seen is many rigs I have looked at.

I am sure we tow no where near the gross, probably under 10k at most.

The search is on.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #11
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Yes, that is a good amount of carrying capacity. Have you ever weighed your rig? I would think you actually weigh over 10k, but that is still a lot of margin. AF has a good reputation for being a solid unit. Would like to see some of them at shows, but they don't have a dealer down this way that I know of.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greytraveler View Post
Whew, thanks for all the info Rusty. Time for a bit of homework.

Right now we tow with full propane and very little water since we do not dry camp. We are not large people so our added weight to the truck would be around 285 pounds plus another 100 pounds of dogs.

The truck has been weighed with full fuel, myself and the hitch and it was around 7,300.

GT
All the stuff you load into the 5er's storage and bedroom will add mostly to the pin weight and thus the GVW of the truck. Not sure where your propane and batteries are, but that's another 150lbs+. It ads up fast.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:19 PM   #13
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What puzzles me is that as we travel and stay at RV parks, it seems many people are towing with 2500 and 3500, fifth wheels that are way beyond their tow ratings. Like Heartland Big Horn triple slides 34 foot. Some people I ask what their tow rating is don't know what I am talking about. Am I missing something? Can a trucks tow rating be increased that much? Am I just ignorant?
No your not ignorant.
Just not current on how much weight a truck can carry and how much it can tow from a legal standpoint. Trucks carry weight determined by their drive and steer axle/tire load ratings. Some folks like to use the mfg GVWR to figure loads the axle/ tires can carry which is fine. Its safe also.

Tow rating ?? The '04 Dodge/Cummins/NV5600/11.5" AAM axle are under the 2500/3500 SRW and DRW trucks and range from 12k to 16k. From a legal standpoint there are no maximums for pulling weight other than a heavy trailer can put the truck owner over his trucks drive and steer axle/tire load ratings.

One of my trucks is a '03 2500 Dodge/Cummins quad cab NV5600 3.73 axle 2wd truck. Dodge gives it a 13350 lb tow rating. My 2wd trucks front axle weighs 3960 lbs and 2780 depending on stuff in the bed/cab.
Dodge gives our trucks a 6000 RAWR which leaves my truck with approx 3200 lbs for a payload. Your 4x4 has more front axle weight but the rears are close to the same. Get some scaled axle weights and keep a copy in the truck for future reference. Yours will be a bit different.

I've driven LDT's all of my life .... many years towing for a living using one ton DRW trucks.
IMO the one ton DRW ranks up there with all LDT's carrying weight over the trucks GVWR. Most one ton DRW trucks I see out here on the road are working rather than pulling a RV around.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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Let me put it this way, If your truck can tow 25000 pounds per the manufacturer and you pull 20000, You will enjoy long truck life and heaven forbid your radiator springs a sudden leak just after the impact with the vehicle in front of you.. Well no "Special" problems and your insurance pays.

On the other hand you pull 30,000 with that self same truck, Your insurance may renig, And you may get sued for additional money due to, as the lawyer who lost put it in my case: "Knowing and willingly allowing an unsafe vehicle to be operated on the road".. He lost because I'd done nothing of the sort, the accident was caused by the failure of a part less than six months old and I still had the box it came in and the receipt. (Was not towing at the time I might add, just my wife driving the van).

However here are a few other things.

Sign: Speed Limit 55mph

Person passing you: Going 80

Sign STOP

Person in front of you Rolls right on through.

Law: DO NOT DRIVE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

Observed in Las Vegas. Woman being arrested for OUI, Seems she dang near ran over a motor officer (Motorcycle).

So when you say you see folks doing idiotic things.. I'm a retired police dispatcher, first 14.5 years on a traffic post.. Yup, That's how come I can afford to post here. Cause of folks doing stupid stuff with vehicles..
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